Frasier – The Good Son
ACT ONE: THE JOB
SCENE ONE - KACL
The Frasier Crane Show. Dr. Frasier Crane, the host, is at his console, admonishing a caller; Roz Doyle, his call-screener, is in her booth.
Frasier: [firmly] Listen to yourself, Bob! You follow her to work, you eavesdrop on her calls, you open her mail. The minute you started doing these things, the relationship was over! [polite] Thank you for your call. [presses a button; to Roz] Roz, I think we have time for one more?
(Roz speaks in a soothing radio voice.)
Roz: Yes, Dr Crane. On line four, we have Russell from Kirkland.
Frasier: [presses a button] Hello, Russell. This is Dr Frasier Crane; I'm listening.
Russell: [v.o.] Well, I've been feeling sort of, uh, you know, depressed lately. [Roz looks at the clock] My life's not going anywhere and-and, er, it's not that bad. It's just the same old apartment, same old job...
(Roz taps on the glass of her booth and motions Frasier to wrap it up.)
Frasier: Er, Russell, we're just about at the end of our hour. Let me see if I can cut to the chase by using myself as an example. Six months ago, I was living in Boston. My wife had left me, which was very painful. Then she came back to me, which was excruciating. On top of that, my practice had grown stagnant, and my social life consisted of... hanging around a bar night after night. You see, I was clinging to a life that wasn't working anymore, and I knew I had to do something, anything. So, I ended the marriage once and for all, packed up my things, and moved back here to my hometown of Seattle. Go Seahawks! [laughs] I took action, Russell. And you can, too. Move, change, do something; if it's a mistake, do something else. Will you do that, Russell? Will you? Russell...? [to Roz] I think we lost him.
Roz: No, we cut to the news thirty seconds ago.
Frasier: [annoyed; rips off his headphones] Oh, for crying out loud! I finally bare my soul to all of Seattle, and they're listening to Chopper Dave's "Rush-Hour Round-Up!"
(He gets up and enters Roz's booth. She is busy with administrative stuff.)
Frasier: Well, the rest of the show was pretty good. [Roz says nothing] It was a, a good show, wasn't it?
Roz: [tears him a piece of notepaper] Here, your brother called.
Frasier: Roz, in the trade we call that "avoidance." Don't change the subject, tell me what you think.
Roz: [points at her console] Did I ever tell you what this little button does?
Frasier: I am not a piece of Lalique. I can handle criticism. How was I today?
Roz: [turns her chair to face him] Let's see... you dropped two commercials, you left a total of twenty-eight seconds of dead air, you scrambled the station's call letters, you spilled yogurt on the control board, and you kept referring to Jerry - with the identity crisis - as "Jeff."
(Frasier considers the criticism. He decides to handle it with avoidance.)
Frasier: [takes the notepaper] You say my brother called...
SCENE TWO: CAFE NERVOSA
(Frasier is at the bar, reading a menu. Niles Crane, his younger brother, is standing next to him recounting a story.)
Niles: So I said to the gardener, "Yoshi, I do not want a Zen garden in my backyard. If I want to rake gravel every ten minutes to maintain my inner harmony, I'll move to Yokohama." Well, this offends him, so he starts pulling up Maris's prized Camellias. Well, I couldn't stand for that, so I marched right into the morning room and locked the door until he cooled down.
(Frasier has been nodding his head, but he has obviously not been listening.)
Niles: Tell me you would have handled it differently, Frasier.
Frasier: [looks up] Oh, I'm sorry, Niles, I didn't realise you'd stopped talking.
Niles: You haven't heard a word I said.
Frasier: Oh Niles, you're a psychiatrist - you know what it's like to listen to people prattling on endlessly about their mundane lives.
Niles: Touché. And on that subject, I heard your show today.
Niles: You know what I think about pop psychiatry.
Frasier: Yes, I know what you think about everything. When was the last time you had an unexpressed thought?
Niles: I'm having one now.
(They share a chuckle. The waitress behind the bar comes over. Niles takes his briefcase off the bar and goes to an empty table nearby.)
Waitress: You guys ready?
Frasier: Two cafe latte supremos.
(He goes to the table, and watches Niles obsessively wipe his chair dowm with a handkerchief. Niles offers the handkerchief to Frasier.)
Frasier: No, thank you.
(They sit down.)
Niles: So, Frasier. How are you doing on your own?
Frasier: I'm fine. I love my new life. I love the solitude. I miss Frederick like the dickens, of course. You know, he's quite a boy. He's playing goalie on the peewee soccer team now. Ha, he's a chip off the old block!
Niles: You hated sports.
Frasier: So does he! [laughs] The fresh air's good for him.
Niles: [laughs] Oh well, this has been fun, Frasier, but... we have a problem, and that's why I thought we should talk.
Frasier: Is it Dad?
Niles: Afraid so. One of his old buddies from the police force called this morning. He went over to see him, and found him on the bathroom floor.
Frasier: Oh my God!
Niles: No, it's okay, he's fine.
Frasier: What, his hip again?
Niles: Frasier, I don't think he can live alone anymore.
Frasier: What can we do?
Niles: Well, I know this isn't going to be anyone's favourite solution, [opens his briefcase] but I took the liberty of checking out a few convalescent homes for him. [puts some brochures on the table]
Frasier: Oh Niles, a home? He's still a young man!
Niles: Well, you certainly can't take care of him - you're just getting your new life together.
Frasier: Absolutely. Besides, we were never simpatico.
Niles: Of course, I can't take care of him.
Frasier: Oh yes, yes, of course, of course... why?
Niles: Because Dad doesn't get along with Maris.
Frasier: Who does?
Niles: I thought you liked my Maris!
Frasier: I do. I... I like her from a distance. You know, the way you like the sun. Maris is like the sun. Except without the warmth.
Niles: Well then, we're agreed about what to do with Dad. [reads a brochure] "Golden Acres: We Care So You Don't Have To."
Frasier: It says that?
Niles: Well, it might as well!
Frasier: Alright, I'll make up the spare bedroom.
Niles: Oh, you're a good son, Frasier.
Frasier: Oh God, I am, aren't I?
(Downcast, he cradles his head in one hand. The waitress arrives with their coffees.)
Waitress: Two cafe supremos. Anything to eat?
Frasier: [depressed] No. I seem to have lost my appetite.
Niles: [perky] I'll have a large piece of cheesecake!
(Frasier glares at Niles.)
SCENE THREE - APARTMENT
[N.B. The Apartment set was built on the same soundstage at Paramount Studios that housed the set of "Cheers."]
(Frasier is playing the piano. The doorbell rings; he stops playing, shuts the keyboard lid, and disconsolately trudges to the door. Just before opening it, he casts a melodramatic gaze over his apartment: the last moment of solitude. Then, he opens the door.)
Frasier: [upbeat] Hi! [laughs]
(Niles enters; he is carrying two suitcases.)
Niles: We finally made it!
(Martin Crane, their father, hobbles in on a cane. He does not look at all enthusiastic.)
Frasier: Ah Dad, Dad, welcome to your new home! [hugs Martin] Gee, you look great!
Martin: Don't B.S. me, I do not look great. I spent Monday on the bathroom floor. You can still see the tile marks on my face. [sits on the couch]
Niles: [to Frasier] Gives you some idea about the ride over in the car. [puts down the suitcases]
Frasier: Well, er, here we are...
(Martin, who has propped his leg on a table, accidentally kicks a glass ornament off of the side; Frasier catches it.)
Frasier: Well, rest assured the refrigerator is stocked with your favourite beer, Ballantines, [places the glass ornament on a small folding table] and we've got plenty of hot links and coleslaw...)
Frasier: And I just rented a Charles Bronson movie for later!
Martin: Let's cut the "Welcome To Camp Crane" speech. We all know why I'm here. Your old man can't be left alone for ten minutes without falling on his ass, and Frasier got stuck with me. Isn't that right?
(Frasier and Niles glance uncomfortably at each other.)
Frasier/Niles: [laughing] No, no!
Frasier: I want you here! It'll give us a chance to get reacquainted!
Martin: That implies we were acquainted at one point.
(Niles fakes some chuckles, Frasier glares at him.)
Niles: Well listen, [picks up the suitcases] why don't I take Dad's things into his new bachelor quarters so you two scoundrels can plan some hijinks!
Martin: I think that wife of his is finally driving him nutso.
Frasier: Yes, we Crane boys sure know how to marry. [goes to the kitchen] Let me get you a beer, Dad. So, ah, what do you think of what I've done with the place, eh? [returns and sits on the couch, handing a beer to Martin] You know, every item here was carefully selected. This lamp by Corbusier, the chair by Eames, and this couch is an exact replica of the one Coco Chanel had in her Paris atelier.
Martin: Nothing matches.
Frasier: Well, it's a, it's a style of decorating, it's called "eclectic." [off Martin's look] Well, the theory behind it is, if you've got really fine pieces of furniture, it doesn't matter if they match - they will go together.
Martin: It's your money.
(The doorbell rings. Frasier gets up; as he goes to the door, he gestures at the view of the Seattle skyline offered by the balcony windows.)
Frasier: Dad, what do you think of the view? Hey, that's the Space Needle there!
Martin: Oh, thanks for pointing that out. Being born and raised here, I never would have known.
(Frasier chafes briefly; then, he opens the door to a delivery man, who has with him an old, battered, and aesthetically unpleasing Barcalounger.)
Man: Delivery for Martin Crane.
Martin: Oh, in here! [gets up]
Man: Coming through!
(He quickly wheels The Armchair into the room. Frasier and Niles (who has returned) look on aghast at this latest addition to the apartment's luxury furnishings.)
Frasier: Excuse me, excuse me, wait a minute-
Man: Where d'you want it?
Martin: Where's the TV?
Niles: [points] It's in that credenza.
Martin: Point it at that thing.
Man: [sees a designer chair in the way] What about this chair?
Niles: Ah, the chair? Here, let me get it out of your way.
(He lifts it away carelessly, and it is replaced by The Armchair.)
Frasier: [shocked] Niles, Niles, Niles, be careful with that, that's a Wassily!
(The delivery man leaves. Martin sits in The Armchair, newly installed as the centrepiece of the apartment.)
Frasier: Oh look, Dad, as dear as I'm sure this, this piece is to you I, I just don't think it goes with anything here!
Martin: I know, it's eclectic!
(He reclines, knocking over the small folding table; Frasier rescues the glass ornament again, and rights the table.)
Frasier: Niles, Niles, will you help me out here?
Martin: Ah, you're gonna have to run an extension cord over here so I can plug in the vibrating part.
Frasier: Oh yes, that will be the crowning touch.
(Niles quickly heads for the door.)
Niles: Well, now that you two are settled in, I've got to run. I'm late for my dysfunctional family seminar.
(He is halfway out of the apartment before he remembers something...)
Niles: Dad, have you mentioned Eddie yet?
Frasier: [horrified] Eddie?
Niles: Ta-ta! [closes the door]
Frasier: Oh no, Dad, no, no! Not Eddie!
Martin: But he's my best friend! Get me my beer, would you?
Frasier: [fetches the beer] But he's weird! He gives me the creeps! All he does is stare at me.
Martin: Ah, it's just your imagination.
Frasier: No Dad, no! No, I'm sorry, but I am putting my foot down. Eddie is NOT moving in here.
SCENE FOUR - APARTMENT -NIGHT
(The lights are off. Martin is in his chair, eating a hot link and watching the Charles Bronson movie; sounds of mindless violence can be heard emanating from the TV.)
(The camera pans over to the couch, where an uncomfortable-looking Frasier is seated. Perched next to Frasier is Eddie - a wire-haired Jack Russell terrier. Eddie stares at Frasier.)
SCENE FIVE - CAFE NERVOSA
(Niles has just been served his coffee; Frasier rushes in.)
Frasier: [anxious] Niles, there you are! I'm sorry I'm late; just as I was leaving, Dad decided to cook lunch by the glow of a small kitchen fire! Oh Niles, this last week with Dad, it's, it's been a living hell! When I'm there, I feel like my territory's being violated; when I'm not, I'm worried about what he's up to. Look at me, [shows Niles his shaky hands] I'm a nervous wreck! I've got to do something to calm down. [goes to the bar] Double espresso, please! Niles, you don't still have the brochures from those rest homes, do you?
Niles: Of course I do. Don't forget, Maris is five years older than I am. But you really think that's necessary?
Frasier: I'm afraid I do. I don't have my life anymore. Tuesday night I gave up my tickets to the theatre, Wednesday it was the symphony... [gets his coffee]
Niles: That reminds me, weren't you going to the opera on Friday?
Frasier: Yes, here. [hands him some tickets]
Niles: Thank you.
Frasier: Niles, you don't suppose there's a chance that you and Maris could...
Niles: Funny you should mention that. Maris and I were just discussing this. We feel we should do more to share the responsibility.
Frasier: You mean you'd take him in?
Niles: [laughs incredulously] Dear God, no! But we would be willing to help you pay for a home care worker.
Frasier: A what?
Niles: You know, someone who cooks and cleans and can help Dad with his physical therapy.
Frasier: These angels exist?
Niles: I know of an agency - let me arrange for them to send a few people over to meet with you.
Frasier: Niles, I can't thank you enough! I, I, I feel this overwhelming urge to hug you!
Niles: Remember what Mom always said: "A handshake is as good as a hug."
Frasier: Wise woman.
(They shake hands.)
THE HOME CARE SPECIALIST
SCENE SIX - APARTMENT
(A woman is standing in the hallway, talking to Frasier.)
Frasier: I have never been more impressed with a human being in my life!
(He closes the door on her. Cut to inside the apartment. Martin is in The Armchair; Eddie is on the couch.)
Frasier: [angry] Now what was wrong with that one?!
Martin: She was casing the joint.
Frasier: "Casing the joint!" She spent two years with Mother Teresa!
Martin: Well, if I were Mother Teresa, I'd check my jewellery box!
(The doorbell rings.)
Frasier: Oh, this is the last one. Can you please try to keep an open mind?
(He opens the door to Daphne Moon, a British woman in her twenties. She is adjusting her bra as Frasier opens the door.)
Daphne: Oh! Hello - caught me with my hand in the biscuit tin! [takes her hand out and shakes Frasier's] I'm Daphne, Daphne Moon.
Frasier: Frasier Crane. Please come in.
Daphne: Thank you. [enters]
Frasier: Er, this is my father, Martin Crane. Dad, this is Daphne Moon.
Daphne: Nice to meet you. [sees Eddie] Oh, and who might this be?
Frasier: [darkly] That is Eddie.
Martin: I call him "Eddie Spaghetti."
Daphne: Oh, he likes pasta?
Martin: No, he has worms.
Frasier: Er, have a seat, Miss Moon.
Daphne: Daphne. Thank you. [sees The Armchair and pats it] Oh, will you look at that. What a comfy chair! It's like I always say, start with a good piece and replace the rest when you can afford it.
(She smiles at Frasier. So does Martin. Daphne sits on the couch.)
Frasier: Yes. Well, er, perhaps you should start by telling us a little bit about yourself, Miss Moon.
Daphne: Well, I'm originally from Manchester, England...
Frasier: Oh really, did you hear that, Dad?
Martin: I'm three feet away. There's nothing wrong with my hearing.
(Daphne begins to take all sorts of things out of her bag: a brush, a glass, a sponge - and finally, a piece of paper which she hands to Frasier.)
Daphne: I've only been in the U.S. for a few months, but I have quite an extensive background in home care and physical therapy, as you can see from my resume. I... [suddenly turns toward Martin] You were a policeman, weren't you?
Martin: Yeah - how'd you know?
Daphne: I must confess - I'm a bit psychic. It's nothing big, just little things I sense about people. I mean, it's not like I can pick the lottery. If I could, I wouldn't be talking to the likes of you two, now would I? [laughs]
(Martin is amused; Frasier looks unimpressed.)
Frasier: Yes. Perhaps I should describe the duties around here. You would be responsible for...
Daphne: [suddenly turns towards Frasier] Oh, wait a minute, I'm getting something on you... you're a florist!
Frasier: No, I'm a psychiatrist.
Daphne: Well, it comes and goes. [puts her things back into her bag] Usually, it's strongest during my time of the month. Oh, I guess I let a little secret out there, didn't I?
Frasier: It's safe with us. Well, Miss Moon, I think we've learned just about all we need to know about you, and a dash extra! [goes to the door]
Daphne: [waves her arms at Eddie] You're a dog, aren't you?
(Daphne and Martin laugh.)
Frasier: Well, we'll, er, we'll be calling you, Miss Moon. [goes for the door handle]
Martin: Oh, why wait? [to Daphne] You've got the job!
Daphne: Oh, wonderful!
Frasier: [annoyed] Er excuse me, excuse me, aren't you just forgetting a little something here? Don't you think we should talk about this in private?
Daphne: Oh, of course you should; I completely understand. [she stands up and shoulders her bag] I'll just pop into the loo - you do have one, don't you?
Daphne: Oh, I love America...
(Daphne walks into the powder room. As soon as its door is shut:)
Frasier: Dad, what do you think you're doing?
Martin: You wanted me to pick one, I picked one.
Frasier: But she's a kook! I don't like her!
Martin: Well, what difference does it make to you? She's only gonna be here when you're not.
Frasier: Then... what's my problem? [laughs] Daphne!
Frasier: You've been retained.
Daphne: Oh, wonderful! I had a premonition.
Frasier: Quelle surprise.
Daphne: I'll move my things in tomorrow.
Frasier: Oh, move in? Oh, I'm sorry, there must be some misunderstanding. Er, this isn't a live-in position.
Daphne: Oh, dear. Well the lady at the agency-
Frasier: The lady at the agency was wrong; this is just a part-time position. I'm, I'm afraid it just won't work out.
Martin: [gets up] Hold on there, Frasier, let's talk about this!
Frasier: Dad, there's nothing to discuss!
Daphne: You two should talk about this. I'll just pop back in here and enjoy some more of your African erotic art.
Frasier: Daphne, Daphne - I think it would be best if you leave.
Daphne: Oh well, alright then. [goes to leave]
Frasier: Don't be alarmed. We'll contact you. If not by telephone then, er, through the toaster.
(Daphne leaves, allowing tempers to flare.
Frasier: Dad, I'm not having another person living in this house!
Martin: Give me one good reason why not!
Frasier: Well, for one thing, there's no room for her!
Martin: What about that room right across the hall from mine?
Frasier: My study? You expect me to give up my study - the place where I read, where I do my most profound thinking?
Martin: Ah, use the can like the rest of the world! You'll adjust!
Frasier: [angry] I don't want to adjust! I've done enough adjusting! I'm in a new city, I've got a new job, I'm separated from my little boy, which in itself is enough to drive me nuts. And now my father and his dog are living with me! Well, that's enough on my plate, thank you. The whole idea of getting somebody in here was to help ease my burden, not to add to it!
Martin: Oh, do you hear that, Eddie? We're a burden.
Frasier: Oh Dad, Dad, you're, you're twisting my words! I meant burden in its most positive sense!
Martin: As in, "Gee, what a lovely burden?"
Frasier: Something like that, yes!
Martin: Well, you're not the only one who got screwed here, you know. Two years ago I'm sailing toward retirement and some punk robbing a convenience store puts a bullet in my hip. Next thing you know, I'm trading in my golf clubs for one of these. [shakes his cane] Well, I had plans too, you know! And this may come as a shock to you, sonny boy, but one of them wasn't living with you.
Frasier: I'm just trying to do the right thing, here. I'm trying to be the good son.
Martin: Oh, don't worry, son. After I'm gone you can live guilt-free, knowing you've done right by your pop.
Frasier: You think that's what this is about, guilt?
Martin: Isn't it?
Frasier: Of course it is! But the point is, I did it! I took you in! And I've got news for you - I wanted to do it! [on the verge of tears] Because you're my father. And how do you repay me? Ever since you've moved in here it's been a snide comment about this or a smart little put-down about that. [grabs his coat and goes to the door] Well, I've done my best to make a home here for you, and once, just once, would it have killed you to say "thank you?" One lousy "thank you?"
(Long pause as Frasier waits expectantly, and Martin looks thoughtful.)
Martin: [to Eddie] Come on, Eddie, it's past your dinner time.
(Eddie jumps off the couch and follows Martin into the kitchen.)
Frasier: I'm going out.
SCENE SEVEN - KACL
(The corridor outside Frasier's studio. Frasier tears into the hallway
and rushes into the booth. Inside the studio, Roz is in her booth.
Frasier slams the door and drops into his chair.)
Frasier: They have got to move the bathroom closer to the studio!
He throws on his headphones just as Roz points to him.
Frasier: [polite] We'll be right back after these messages. [off air] Can't I put that on tape?!
Roz: What's eating you?
Frasier: Oh, I'm sorry. It's just this thing with my father and this, this person he wants to hire. I thought I'd started my life with a clean slate. I had picture of what it was going to be like, and then, I don't know...
Roz: Ever heard of Lupe Velez?
Roz: Lupe Velez - the movie star in the '30s. Well, her career hit the skids, so she decided she'd make one final stab at immortality. She figured if she couldn't be remembered for her movies, she'd be remembered for the way she died. And all Lupe wanted was to be remembered. So, she plans this lavish suicide - flowers, candles, silk sheets, white satin gown, full hair and makeup, the works. She takes the overdose of pills, lays on the bed, and imagines how beautiful she's going to look on the front page of tomorrow's newspaper. Unfortunately, the pills don't sit
well with the enchilada combo plate she sadly chose as her last meal. She stumbles to the bathroom, trips and goes head-first into the toilet, and that's how they found her.
Frasier: Is there a reason you're telling me this story?
Roz: Yes. Even though things may not happen like we planned, they can work out anyway.
Frasier: Remind me again how it worked for Lupe, last seen with her head in the toilet?
Roz: All she wanted was to be remembered. [beat] Will you ever forget that story?
[N.B. In fact, the Los Angeles newspapers reported Lupe's suicide
as though she had carried it off as planned; the sordid details were
kept quiet and for a long time existed only as rumor.]
She returns to her booth and cues him. He puts his headphones on;
everything from now onwards is on the air.)
Frasier: We're back. Roz, who's our next caller?
Roz: We have Martin on line one. He's having a problem with his son.
Frasier: [presses a button] Hello, Martin. This is Dr. Frasier Crane; I'm listening.
Martin: [v.o.] I'm a first-time caller.
(Pause as Frasier realises that the caller is his father.)
Frasier: Welcome to the show. How can I help you?
Martin: I've just moved in with my son and er, it ain't working. There's a lot of tension between us.
Frasier: I can imagine. Why do you think that's so?
Martin: I guess I didn't see he had a whole new life planned for himself, and I kinda got in the way.
Frasier: Well, these things are a two-way street. Perhaps your son wasn't sensitive enough to see how your life was changing.
Martin: [suddenly loud] You got that right! I've been telling him that since I got there!
Frasier: I'm sure he appreciated your candour.
Martin: Well, maybe sometimes I oughta just learn how to keep my trap shut.
Frasier: That's good advice for us all. Anything else?
Martin: Yeah, I'm worried my son doesn't know that I really appreciate what he's doing for me.
Frasier: Why don't you tell him?
Martin: Well, you know how it is with fathers and sons, it... I have trouble saying that stuff.
Frasier: Well, if it helps, I suspect your son already knows how you feel. Is that all?
Martin: Yeah, I guess that's it. Thank you, Dr Crane.
Frasier: My pleasure, Martin.
Martin: [suddenly loud again] Did you hear what I said? I said "thank you!"
Frasier: Yes, I heard.
(He presses a button to disconnect Martin.)
Roz: Dr Crane, we have Claire on line four. She's having a problem getting over a relationship.
Frasier: [presses a button] Hello, Claire. I'm listening.
Claire: [distraught] I'm a, well, I'm a mess! Eight months ago my boyfriend and I broke up, and I just can't get over it. The pain isn't going away. It's almost like I'm in mourning or something.
Frasier: Claire, you are in mourning. But you're not mourning the loss of your boyfriend. You're mourning the loss of what you thought your life was going to be. Let it go. Things don't always work out how you planned; that's not necessarily bad. Things have a way of working out anyway. [pause] Have you ever heard of Lupe Velez?
(He gives Roz a glance as we FADE OUT.)
(Frasier's apartment. The whole gang is watching the TV. Martin is
in The Armchair; on the couch, Daphne occupies the left seat, Frasier
has the right seat and is trying to read something, and Eddie is in
the middle, staring at Frasier. Suddenly, Eddie places a paw on
Edit the description to add:
- Historical context: the work's place in history, how it was received
- A summary of the work's overall themes (example: "Here, Byron evokes the classic struggle between virtue and temptation...")
- A description of the work's overall style and tone